About the Department

Department of Chemical Engineering

The objective of the Chemical Engineering program at IIT Tirupati is to nurture students to meet the contemporary and future needs of the process industry and to pursue innovative research in frontier areas. The Department plans to set up the state of the art teaching and research facilities to achieve the above objective.

Chemical Engineering: Past, Present and Future:

Throughout history man has endeavored to use raw materials available in nature and transform them into useful materials. May this be refining of copper ore into metal to make tools and weapons by prehistoric humans or laborious efforts of medieval alchemists to transform base metals into gold or refining various high value products from crude oil which forms the basis of the modern world. The core essence of this age-old pursuit of material progress has been to transform matter from its raw form to a usable form with economic use of scarce resources viz. energy and manpower. Chemical engineering as a modern independent discipline of engineering has evolved very recently at the beginning of the 20th century. Until that point most of the production of chemicals and allied products has been under the ambit of “applied chemistry”. However, at the turn of the 20th century large scale production of synthetic chemicals required amalgamation of ideas and concepts from various disciplines ranging from chemistry, equipment design, control systems, thermodynamics, and process optimization to enable these processes to be technically viable and economically feasible. This has led to the formalization of Chemical Engineering as a new discipline with the first academic course offered by George E Davis at University of Manchester in 1887. While the early half of the 20th century has seen pioneering developments such as discovery of Haber-Bosch process of ammonia, thermal cracking of petroleum etc., partly driven by intense competition in research during two world wars. The second half of the 20th century has seen innovations in areas like catalytic converters, synthetic detergents, automation in chemical plants, semiconductor processing, food preservation and biochemical technologies. Mathematical approach to model chemical engineering phenomena has emerged since the 1960s. This combination of theoretical and technological developments in chemical engineering forms the basis of modern practices and formal education in Chemical engineering discipline. Today chemical engineering has become very wide in its scope and application overlapping with several other disciplines like artificial intelligence, bioprocess technology, energy and environment, material science, nanotechnology, precision agriculture and food processing, molecular modeling, simulation, drug design and delivery etc. to name a few. In near future, chemical engineering will further integrate with technologies such as autonomous process control systems, Internet of things, molecular synthesis of materials, quantum computing and bio-nano technology etc. These developments demand that future chemical engineers to be very versatile and adaptable to constantly changing work environments and need exposure to a wide variety of disciplines and thus need to be truly Universal Engineers.

Copyright ©2022 Department of Chemical Engineering - IIT Tirupati. All Rights Reserved